Leesburg man charged in multi-state child exploitation operation

Leesburg man charged in multi-state child exploitation operation

LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - A Leesburg man has been charged as part of a multi-state investigation that focused on persons who possess and distribute child pornography and those who are sexually exploiting children in other ways using technology and the internet.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Karl K. Strenth, Jr., 28, of Leesburg, is one of 76 people that are in custody and facing charges as part of Operation Southern Impact II.

On 03/14/18, Investigators with the Lee County Sheriff's Office, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Community Supervision executed a search warrant on an address in Lee County resulting in the arrest of a registered sex offender, Karl Kevin Strenth Jr. The Lee County Sheriff's Office Special Victims Unit, who are also affiliates with the GBI Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, investigated the allegation of sexual exploitation of children resulting in the arrest of Karl Kevin Strenth Jr. Additional charges are forthcoming. - Sergeant Matthew Pearce with the Lee County Sheriff's Office

The operation was coordinated between eight states including Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Investigators targeted those seeking out and distributing the most violent child pornography involving infants and toddlers.

During Operation Southern Impact II 13 children were rescued or identified as victims.

The Commanders of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces in these states wanted to reinforce to those who exploit children that the ICAC Task Forces will work together to make an impact in their respective states and the region as a whole. The cooperation among agencies and among states illustrates their level of commitment to detect, arrest, and prosecute child predators. Cooperation is always important in law enforcement, but it is never more important than when we set out to protect children. Operation Southern Impact II has given us an opportunity to share our experience, information, and resources across units, agencies, and state lines, to make sure that there is no safe place to hide for criminals who would victimize the most vulnerable among us.

The GBI said that of the 76 arrests, 34 people were arrested in Georgia and that many of those arrests involved possession and/or distribution of child pornography. Six of those arrested in Georgia traveled for the purpose of meeting and having sex with a minor. One arrest in Georgia involved "sextortion" which is trend involving subjects that obtain sexually explicit photos of minors and then threaten or blackmail the victim for additional obscene images or videos, according to the GBI.

Eight (8) registered sex offenders were encountered in Georgia, during the course of this operation, four (4) of those offenders were charged with new crimes related to child pornography while the others were charged with various compliance violations. There was an additional subject who had an arrest for a prior sex offense but was not a registered sex offender. At least one foster parent with young children was arrested. There were also searches conducted where guns were found and illegal drugs were discovered.

The GBI said that investigators found instances in which those arrested had no prior criminal history, were working in positions of trust or jobs where interaction with children is common.

Below is a list of those arrested as a direct result of Operation Southern Impact II and their occupation if it was available to investigators:

  • Wesley Bunker, 27, Rome, GA, retail store employee
  • Tony Burton, 52, B/M, Lawrenceville, GA, unemployed
  • Eric A. Burgess, 17, Suwannee, GA, student
  • Jason R. Cash, 34, Monroe, GA, electrician
  • Anthony L. Crane, 39, Cartersville, GA, construction worker
  • Jeffery Declouet, 46, Suwannee, GA, IT support employee
  • Mark D. Driver, 36, Fort Valley, GA, truck stop employee
  • Kyam Forsyth, 25, Eatonton, GA, unemployed
  • Bill E. Garner, 54, Resaca, GA, unemployed
  • John Garrett, 62, Roswell, GA, former manager of commercial bus service
  • John P. Hart, Jr., 63, Sandersville, GA, unemployed
  • Aaron C. Helton, 36, Adairsville, GA, unknown
  • Bryan E. Holloway, 45, Winston, GA, truck driver
  • Mark Horn, 31, Dallas, GA, vocational training non-profit employee
  • Gordon L. Ingebritsen, 53, Duluth, GA, unemployed
  • Shawn M. Kemp, 31, Cedartown, GA, postal employee
  • Nicholas Knight, 29, Dublin, GA, unemployed
  • Jeffery Lance, 26, Silver, Creek, GA, school board employee/church youth director
  • Donald Allen McFall, 31, Columbus, GA, unemployed
  • Stephen McGatha, 49, Cedartown, GA, unknown
  • John Clark Miller, 57, Winder, GA, glass company technician
  • Jonathan Okelly, 37, Douglasville, GA, unknown
  • Andrew Orr, 34, Marietta, GA, part-time freighter
  • Daniel Pacheco, 27, H/M, Tucker, GA, disc jockey
  • Hershell Kyle Pirkle, age 29, restaurant worker
  • Eric Wolfgang Rauth, 35, Elgin, Illinois, unknown
  • Benjamin F. Smith, 41, Byron, GA, civilian employee at AFB
  • Bryan F. Stisher, 35, Roswell, GA, online tutor
  • Karl K. Strenth, Jr., 28, Leesburg, GA, unknown
  • Thomas C. Toler, 54, St. Mary’s, GA, human resources
  • Darren Alan Vincent, 47, Trion, GA, manufacturing worker

Three other people, all from Valdosta, were also arrested not directly related to child pornography but rather as a result of the investigative actions taken during Operation Southern Impact II:

  • Darlene Johnson, 49, Valdosta, GA, unemployed
  • Michael Thor, 45, Valdosta, GA, unemployed
  • Stephon B. Gary, 31, Valdosta, GA, unemployed

In total, 38 search warrants and 12 knock and talks were conducted in Georgia during Operation Southern Impact II.

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